From Publishers Weekly
In this glittering gem, Winder (publishing director at Penguin UK) combines cultural history, memoir and a terrifyingly formidable knowledge of James Bond plot lines to produce a hilarious and thoughtful narrative of the fall and rise of Britain from WWII to the present day. For a nation that had owned a quarter of the world but post-1945 was losing its possessions, Ian Fleming's masterful creation, 007, was its savior. Bond—quipping, killing and bedding all the way—put villainous foreigners and their sinister assortment of exotic henchmen back in their rightful place and ensured Britain would retain its top place in the world hierarchy. In reality, of course, the Americans and the Soviets gently ignored the sad little island and went about their Cold War business. But that did not matter, since 007 exemplified the potent fantasy of British superiority in all things. As for the best Bond movie and novel, Winder tilts toward 1963's From Russia with Love
, where Fleming's writing reached its peak and director Terence Young coaxed terrific performances out of his actors. Fittingly for Winder, the film's theme is so dated it requires the most explanation for those who don't remember the Cold War. (Oct.)
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"Simon Winder gives us a rollicking tour through Bondland, [and] expertly captures the knowing blend of nostalgia, sophistication, and plain absurdity that made the Bond books (and later the movies) such a hit in the 1950s and '60s. . . . Entertaining and very funny."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Happily, this brilliantly obsessive exegesis on the meaning and influence of the 007 character--part sociological study, part geek memoir--also has a sense of humor about its subject. . . . Indeed, Bond hasn't provided this much entertainment in decades."--Entertainment Weekly (grade: A)
"Sly, funny, occasionally sad, a wild mix of cultural history, film criticism, and memoir."--Rich Cohen, author of Sweet and Low
"The nimble and witty Simon Winder sifts through Ian Fleming's formulaic 007 books with excellent and often hilarious explanations. . . . [An] enchanting book--social history at its best."--The Palm Beach Post
"Winder has an easy journalistic tone, a surprisingly objective take on his own obsession, and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Bond- and Ian Fleming-related. . . . Witty and intelligent."--Financial Times (U.K.)
"Almost ridiculously enjoyable."--New Statesman (U.K.)